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Rock Goddess: Rock Goddess - Album Of The Week Club review

Straight outta South London, Rock Goddess's career faltered more often than it flowered, but the pioneering trio's self-titled debut is a fondly-remembered slice of NWOBHM

Rock Goddess: Rock Goddess cover art
(Image: © A&M)
Rock Goddess: Rock Goddess

Rock Goddess: Rock Goddess cover art

(Image credit: A&M)

Heartache
Back to You
The Love Lingers Still
To Be Betrayed
Take Your Love Away
My Angel
Satisfied Then Crucified
Start Running
Make My Night
One Way Love
Heavy Metal Rock 'n' Roll

For a band whose heyday was the best part of 40 years ago, the announcement that Rock Goddess are retiring from the live circuit – after playing very few shows at all over the last 30 – was greeted with a surprising amount of apparent disappointment. But it's a true reflection of the affection with which the South London trio were held. 

Coming to the fore as NWOBHM began to lose its momentum, Rock Goddess played with Def Leppard, Y&T and Iron Maiden and signed to A&M for their debut album. Produced by Vic Maile – whose work on Motorhead's Classic No Sleep 'Til Hammersmith proved that even the noisiest of releases could top the charts – Rock Goddess showed the band to be harder-edged than the similarly pioneering Girlschool, with singer singer Jody Turner the owner of a voice as raw as it was powerful. 

“The thing that remains completely unchanged is the metal fans,” Turner told Classic Rock. “Once you become part of the metal family then it’s for life, and it means so much! I love that. That’s how I felt when I found metal: I knew It was a life-long membership. The strength of passion for the music is evergreen.”

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Every week, Album of the Week Club listens to and discusses the album in question, votes on how good it is, and publishes our findings, with the aim of giving people reliable reviews and the wider rock community the chance to contribute. 

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Other albums released in February 1983

  • Porcupine - Echo & The Bunnymen
  • Mommy's Little Monster - Social Distortion
  • Somewhere in Afrika - Manfred Mann's Earth Band
  • Kilroy Was Here - Styx
  • War - U2
  • Frontiers - Journey
  • Confusion Is Sex - Sonic Youth
  • Kihnspiracy - The Greg Kihn Band
  • Making Contact - UFO
  • Money and Cigarettes - Eric Clapton
  • Subterranean Jungle - Ramones
  • Youngblood - Carl Wilson

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What they said...

"Rock Goddess is equal parts Mötley Crüe and Girlschool with just as much energy, if not more. Vocalist Jody Turner can belt out raspy screams like Joan Jett and throaty wails like Ronnie James Dio, and the guitar licks and riffs barely stop between songs. Standouts on the Goddess' debut album include Heartache, Start Running, and Heavy Metal Rock 'n' Roll. (AllMusic (opens in new tab))

"The singing by Jody Turner is grim, gritty and raw, as if she had been bellowing the whole night before. It has a slightly nasal sound too, that is oddly unsettling but also indefinably suitable. The singing fits the lyrics, calling to mind a girl who does, indeed, like to get down and dirty, but who also has a more sensitive side." (Encyclopaedia Metallum (opens in new tab))

"The 1983 debut album from south London’s answer to The Runaways is guaranteed to raise a smile, although that was presumably not the band’s intention. Unfortunately, the joke of three teenage girls trying to out-gross Lemmy wears thin rather quickly. It’s not that they can’t rock, merely that they need better material than this." (Uncut (opens in new tab))

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What you said...

Mike Canoe: Honestly, I wanted to like this album more than I did. After the revelation that was Girlschool's Demolition in year one of this club, I checked out a few Rock Goddess songs and described them as Girlschool with a better singer.

Now that I've actually listened to a whole album, I realise that description is too simple. They definitely have some good songs. Satisfied Then Crucified, Start Running, and opener Heartache stand out.

On the whole, however, the album is pretty derivative and raw. Even at 40 minutes, it feels overlong. That has nothing to do with them being women and probably everything to do with the fact that they were still teenagers, albeit with half a decade together under their collective bullet belts. They obviously played the kind of music they liked - and were good at it - but didn't really juice the formula any.

Who knows what could have happened if they kept building momentum and gaining experience? I realise that versions of Rock Goddess kept going but, according to their Wikipedia page, Rock Goddess's first career arc began to stall when their then-bassist quit on the eve of a US tour after announcing her pregnancy. Something that Led Zeppelin or Aerosmith never had to worry about.

Alex Hayes: You can add me to the list of people that wanted to enjoy this album much more than I actually did. As a band, Rock Goddess clearly had the musical chops, but, unfortunately, not the tunes. This was a rather bland and generic listen that failed to whet my appetite.

Kudos to these ladies though. They manage to whip up a storm at times here with an intensity and intelligence that very much belies their young ages. Had Rock Goddess been fortunate enough to marry their obvious talents to decent management and better material, their story could have been very different.

It's just not a strong enough collection of songs though, sadly. Very much an album that you had to 'be there at the time' for. 5/10

Chris Elliott: The problem by 1983 was that NWBHM was over. It was all the same, it just went stale and dull very quickly. This is just ho-hum. They were too young to have developed their own ideas. It's not awful, just not worth remembering.

Bill Griffin: I really wanted to like this when the first track, Heartache, started but it quickly became a slog to get through. The problem is Jody Turner's vocals. A cross, I think of Pat Benatar and Joan Jett, it seems she, unfortunately, chose to concentrate on the Joan Jett aspect. She can sing and has a good voice but screamed through the whole album instead.

The songs, while decent, are not memorable and give me no reason to revisit the album. The only song I actually liked is Start Running which is reminiscent of Black Sabbath's Junior's Eyes.

There was one part of the album I liked though: Tracy Lamb's bass tone.

Martin Wooliscroft: Retiring? Jeez, that makes me feel old. Remember meeting them.after a gig circa 1983 and them signing my denim jacket (cos that was how we rolled back then) with their father lurking menacingly in the background, as the Turner sisters were essentially schoolgirls at the time.

John Bridgehouse: I must admit I'd not heard of them until this morning. But after watching this earlier (opens in new tab) it seems I've missed out on something bloody good.

Adam Ranger: Hearing the name took me back to a time in the early 80s when this type of Rock/Metal was never off my turntable or cassette deck. Have not listened to them for ages. So what do I think now?

To be hon=est, it's not as great as I remember them. Had to be there, I guess! That said, this is not a bad album. Nice guitar licks and riffs, bass and drums tight. But maybe, as some have said, the vocals don't quite do it for me anymore. No one wants perfect vocals on their heavy rock, and I am very partial to shouty punk in its place, but I think the vocals do detract from the whole record a bit.

That said, it's a great rock record with some great playing. Enjoyed revisiting it and my youth!

Philip Qvist: The beauty of this Facebook Group; you do get introduced to bands and albums that you may have missed completely, and Rock Goddess is one such group.

So why did this band and their self titled debut fail to grab my attention? Because 1983 was a year of brilliant albums; for example you had the choice of Pyromania, Piece of Mind, The Crossing, Synchronicity, War, Holy Diver, Eliminator, Let's Dance and The Final Cut - and I'm only scratching the surface here.

In other words, 1983 was a year where an average LP would slip by unnoticed by the bulk of the music buying public - and Rock Goddess's debut was nothing special, unfortunately. It's definitely not a bad record, but it's hardly a classic either.

So that all said, what is my verdict of this album after my first spin? It's actually a decent record and quite a pleasant surprise. Jody Turner is a pretty nifty guitar player and songwriter, sister Julie (all of 16 years at the time) is a solid enough drummer, and the same could be said about bassist Tracey Lamb. So a good package, with a good set of songs - with Heartache, Start Running, Heavy Metal Rock 'n' Roll and Make My Night my stand out tracks.

The problem is Jody's singing. It's not bad, but distinctly average, veering towards screeching at times. Maybe they would have been better off with another singer fronting the band.

Still, while it wasn't one of the great albums of 1983, it certainly wasn't the worst either. Good effort but one that won't appear on my "Must Buy" list.

John Davidson: No nonsense, no frills heavy rock. It's competent, but it's not very inspired. A grittier sound than Pat Benatar, but some similarities in the vocal style at least. 5/10.

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Final score: 6.51 (45 votes cast, total score 293)

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